The Sweet Potato Queens’ Big-Ass Cookbook (and Financial Planner)

Jill Conner Browne
Three Rivers Press, 2003

Assigned by my book club, I picked this up believing it was going to be light entertainment with a few laughs. It didn’t let me down. The first half of the book was fun gossip and girly survival tips. A worthy financial tip was to pay for cosmetic surgery with a home improvement loan since you are the most important thing in your home. That was followed by a truly good piece on an aging mother coming to live with a mid-life daughter.

When it turned the corner again I’m not sure, but I started getting tired of the self-glorifying and self-promoting with all the suggested websites to themselves and friends. As a weekly column in the local paper I’d eagerly read it to get the day brightly started. As a book, it started to wear, but I think I’d keep that to myself if I was standing within earshot of their supporters.

The Sweet Potato Queens have morphed from hometown characters with a cause to promoting to a nationwide network of self-proclaimed queens. They have over 6,000 chapters and I was surprised to find about twelve in my state. Girlyism and aging reach new levels of glitsy, sparkly, colorful and their definition of fun. The red and purple of the Red Hat Society becomes sedate.

Featuring recipes of bacon, cheese or chocolate, they push beyond the dictates of fresh, colorful and fat-free. Grilled bologna po-boy, chocolate gravy and biscuits and the recipe for love lard suggest kinship to the rash of books that came out a few years ago on “white trash food”. It’s to be wondered how serious they take all the recipes, though a few approach normal like My Very Own Ho-Made Blueberry Muffins and Armadillo Hunter’s Shrimp.

If you’re looking for something to read that won’t break your heart or improve your moral or breakfast fiber, pick it up for a giggle with the girls.


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